The priority theme for this year’s CSW, an annual two-week event that has been promote women’s rights since 1946, the ongoing discrimination, abuse and misogyny women are exposed to in the virtual world.
The aim was to make progress towards leveling the digital playing field and to address persistent issues affecting women and girls, including limited access to technology, disproportionate online violence and underrepresentation and gender bias in tech industries.
The Commission’s Outcome Document, officially the “Agreed Conclusions” of 45 Member Statesrecognized the critical role of technology and innovation in achieving gender equality.
In a statement released by UN Women on Saturday described the document as a “blueprint for all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, civil society and youth to promote the full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in the design, transformation and integration of digital technologies and innovation processes that fulfill women’s and girls’ human rights and needs.”
A “vision of a more equal and connected world”
As the negotiations concluded, UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, said: “This year’s agreed conclusions are game-changing and advance our vision of a more equal and connected world for women and girls in all their diversity. It is our job, as we leave here today, to turn them into reality. The ultimate success of these agreed conclusions lies beyond their completion today, in how we will collectively take them forward. Let’s turn them into reality for all women and girls.”
In addition to reaffirming the importance of women and girls’ full participation and leadership in science, technology and innovation, concerns were expressed about the limited progress in closing the gender gap in access to technology, connectivity, digital literacy and education. The agreed conclusions also condemned the interconnectedness of offline and online violence, harassment and discrimination against women and girls.
The Commission called for significantly increased investment in the public and private sectors to bridge the digital gender divide, more inclusive innovation ecosystems and the promotion of safe and gender-responsive technology and innovation. It also underlined the need for inclusive and equitable quality education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, information and communication technology and digital skills to ensure that all women and girls can thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Youth at the center of discussions
For the first time, the CSW included an interactive youth session with young people, youth representatives of delegations, civil society and UN organizations, who engaged in dialogue and provided recommendations on how to ensure that young women and girls are part of the digital transformation.
Important contributions were made by a wide range of civil society organisations, including members of Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equalitylaunched as part of Generation Equality Foruma civil society focused group convened by UN Women.
The Action Coalition has made a significant contribution to cementing alliances between governments, the private sector, civil society and the UN system, and to driving momentum and commitment to advance gender equality through technology and innovation.